The leaf and stem mines of British flies and other insects

(Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera)

by Brian Pitkin, Willem Ellis, Colin Plant and Rob Edmunds


Phytomyza rufescens von Roser, 1840
[Diptera: Agromyzidae]

Phytomyza rufescens von Roser, 1840. CorrespBl. württ. landw. Ver. Stuttg. (N.S.) 17(1): 63
Phytomyza analis Zetterstedt, 1848. Dipt. Scand. 7: 2842. [Synonymised by Spencer, 1976: 488]
Phytomyza hieracii Hendel, 1922. Wien. ent. Ztg. 39: 67. [Synonymised by Spencer, 1976: 488]
Phytomyza analis Zetterstedt, 1848; Spencer, 1972b. Handbk ident. Br. Ins. 10(5g): 71, 113
Phytomyza rufescens von Roser, 1840; Spencer, 1976. Fauna ent. Scand. 5(1): 488-89, fig. 858
Phytomyza analis Zetterstedt, 1848; Spencer, 1990. Host specialization in the World Agromyzidae (Diptera) : 259, 268.

Leaf-miner: Mine mainly in basal leaves, running along mid-rib, with short lateral offshoots into leaf blade (Spencer, 1972b: 71). Pupation takes place within the petiole or mid-rib (Spencer, 1976: 489).

Upper-surface corridor in the leaf base, radiating from the base of the midrib. Frass in long strings along the sides of the mine. Primary feeding lines quite conspicuous. Pupation within the mine, in the leaf base or even deeper in the plant (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Larva: The larvae of flies are leg-less maggots without a head capsule (see examples). They never have thoracic or abdominal legs. They do not have chewing mouthparts, although they do have a characteristic cephalo-pharyngeal skeleton (see examples), usually visible internally through the body wall. The larvae lie on their sides within the mine and use their pick-like mouthparts to feed on plant tissue.

Described by de Meijere (1926a, as hieracii) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Puparium: The puparia of flies are formed within the hardened last larval skin or puparium and as a result sheaths enclosing head appendages, wings and legs are not visible externally (see examples).

Posterior spiracles each with 20 or more bulbs (Spencer, 1976: 489).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Hieracium       Robbins, 1983-7
Pilosella officinarum Mouse-ear-hawkweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1972b: 113 (as P. analis on Hieracium pilosella)

Hosts elsewhere:

Hieracium       Spencer, 1976: 489
Hieracium       Spencer, 1990: 259
Hieracium cymosum     Bladmineerders van Europa
Pilosella officinarum Mouse-ear-hawkweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1976: 489, as Hieracium pilosella
Pilosella officinarum Mouse-ear-hawkweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - mines: From the autumn till May, then again in July-August (Hering, 1957).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Uncommon. Yorkshire (Malham Tarn), Argyll (Inverary) (Spencer, 1972b: 71) and Warwickshire (Robbins, 1983-7). Easterness (NBN Atlas).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden (Spencer, 1976: 489), The Netherlands (Bladmineerders van Europa), Germany (Spencer, 1976: 578), Czech Republic, European Turkey, Lithuania and Poland (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Pilosella officinarum

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.

External links: Search the internet:
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist
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